IT’S NEW YEAR’S EVE in New York City and everyone who’s anyone is in Times Square partying it up – but not Vicky Munroe.
She’s decided that 2013 would be the year that she started acting her age, as her mother would always hint at her promiscuous, independent lifestyle.
She was turning thirty in April, and sure her career was heading in the right direction – getting rave reviews from The New York Times after the successful opening of the art gallery – but as her mother would never have her forget “You’re almost thirty years old Victoria! All of your friends are either already married or well on their way. You don’t even have a cat!”
Vicky smiles picturing her prim-and-proper mother waving her perfectly manicured hand at her in utter disgust.
She picks up her glass of wine from the kitchen counter, where she had been reliving her horrible teenage years, and walks over to her window with the perfect view of the city.
New York is known as the city that never sleeps and New Year’s Eve was no different.
Last year this time, Vicky was the life of the party and the centre of every male’s attention within a five mile radius.
It was during one of her mother’s DAR luncheons that she made the revelation to her closest friends.
Lynn Danes – the gorgeous, reserved, soft-spoken brunette with her gentle brown eyes. Lynn and Vicky have been friends since the first ham sandwich they shared in the sandbox. They were four years old and have since shared a lot more than a sandwich, men excluded of course. Lynn was like the sister Vicky never had. Her mother remarried several times after her father’s passing, but having more children was the deal breaker.
Lexi Chadwick – the bubbly, raucous blonde always up for a dare. Lex had a way of making Vicky looking like a saint and an amateur, even with her questionable past and string of frivolous relationships.
The girls were sitting around a beautifully decorated table, sipping on sparkling wine. “I’ve decided to turn over a new leaf”, Vicky starts out. Lexi lets out a choked back giggle
Vicky responds with a smirk on her face, “I’m being serious”
Lynn reaches out and gently touches Vicky’s hand “Is your mom on your case again Vic?”
Vicky shakes her head, “I’m turning thirty next year… and I want more... I want the whole nine yards! I want a husband; two kids… even the white picket fence!”
Vicky grabs her flute with conviction and holds it up to make a toast. Her soft, blonde curls bouncing as she starts off her speech with enthusiasm “I vow, here today, to you my two best friends” Lynn smiles in support, as Lexi shakes her head in disbelief
“I will never again be a bridesmaid, unless one of you beat me to the altar of course”, she says realizing this was a bigger possibility than the converse – even for ‘Loosy Goosy Lexi’ as they teased her all through high school.
She continues, “I won’t have any more one-night-stands with any best men…” The girls all share a giggle.
Vicky had grown the reputation over the past three years as the “Best Man One-Night Stand”
Not a reputation she was particularly proud of, but after a few shots of tequila her coherency was questionable. She had tried to keep her liquor intake down to a minimum two glasses of wine over the years, but the great depression that comes with the realization of the ‘always a bridesmaid’ tag went down well with Jose Guervo
There would be tears at the wedding ceremony, dancing at the reception and lots of tequila after another failed attempt at catching the bouquet.
Vicky almost never got along with any of the best men in any of the wedding parties she was part of, but they always seemed to look the better option on the ‘wedding night’
Vicky’s reverie is interrupted by the vibration of her mobile phone on the kitchen counter. She jogs over, placing her wine glass back on the counter as it was before. The mobile’s screen lights up flashing a number with “Lynnie” above it. She smiles as she presses the green phone on her screen “Hey Lynnie, is it time for a ‘Happy New Year’ yet?”
Lynn shrieks over the receiver, “He popped the question Vic! Nico finally asked me to marry him!” Vicky’s face lights up even though her eyes are laden with disappointment “That’s so wonderful Lynn! And about time too, it only took him twelve years”
The girls laugh at the expense of Lynn’s new fiancé.
Nico Georgiou was ever the Greek god. Masculine build, tanned skin, blue eyes, short ashy blonde hair completed with 5 o’clock shadow.
Lynn met Nico in their first year at Columbia University. Lynn was an Education major while Nico was fascinated by architecture. It was love at first sight, Nico was engrossed by the huge building on the campus grounds and Lynn was engrossed by the handsome boy seemingly unaware of her existence. And as any romance novel goes, they stumbled upon each other’s paths with an epic gaze into each other’s eyes to match.
And the rest as they say is history. After a few dates, they were exclusive, rented an apartment together off campus the following year.
“We’re getting married in Greece”, Lynn brought Vicky back to the present. “Vic, did you hear what I said?”
“Greece? When?” Vicky asked to which Lynn replied, “Next week” Lynn could barely contain her excitement. “That’s kinda soon isn’t it?” Vicky had to raise the question
“Soon? Vic, we’ve known each other twelve years remember”, Lynn lets out a satisfied laugh “I want you to be my maid of honor…”
A tear escapes onto Vicky’s cheek “Of course I will… I’m so happy for you Lynn”
The gang was all back together again. The two love birds and newly engaged couple, Lynn and Nico. Lexi and Vicky had made the trip from New York to Greece together.
Grady Kynaston, Nico’s business partner and the comical thorn in Lexi’s side was also at the Georgiou household. The only person missing was Nico’s elusive adoptive brother and best man, simply known as per Nico as Lee.
Vicky had to admit, Lee’s story had built up some intrigue. He was orphaned at the age of eight when his parents went aboard a cruise ship heading for Mykonos, but never returned. The Georgiou family took him in and treated him as part of the family, after which they legally adopted him.
Nico’s blue eyes lit up when he spoke of Lee, his brother, best friend and business partner.
During their time at Columbia, Grady had always maintained the image of the class clown. Even taking partial ownership with Nico and Lee hadn’t changed that fact.
The other very apparent thing was the fact that he still could get under Lexi’s skin. The two never saw eye to eye in college and by the looks of her dodging his “hello” kiss; things weren’t going to change in the near future.
“Grady get that thing away from me,” Lexi brushes him aside “I don’t know where that mouth has been!”
Nico had arranged for the wedding party to live in one of his families homes in the quaint village of Oia.
Nico boasts “Oia has the most beautiful, unforgettable sunsets!”
Lynn leans closer and lays her head on his shoulder, nuzzling her nose into his neck, he smiles down at her before pressing a soft kiss on her forehead.
“Okay, I’ve had just about enough of this cheese fest!” Grady jokes “I’m outta here”
He makes his way toward the door; Nico and Lynn follow shortly after.
Lexi and Vicky were busy unpacking; the two hadn’t shared a room since college. Vicky takes in the gorgeous scenery that is Santorini. The cobalt blue water was the perfect frame around the collapsed caldera with the clear blue sky in the backdrop. The village houses stacked high overlooking the southern Aegean Sea.
“It’s so pretty here… peaceful” Vicky turns to find her friend already stripped down to just her pastel blue bikini “where are you off to?”
Lexi flashes a big smile “Getting a tan. Wanna come?”
Vicky laughs, Lexi has always been completely oblivious to nature’s beauty and wasn’t the least bit interested in discovering everything that Santorini had to offer – she wanted to get a tan
“I think I’m going to finish unpacking then take a stroll along the beach”
Lexi shrugs and she grabs her beach towel, shades and pink straw hat. She makes a dash for the door, stops and turns to face Vicky one last time “Don’t waste this great opportunity Lynnie’s given us. Loosen up, have some fun! This is after all an all-expense paid holiday darling!” Her bellowing laughter as she exits the door leaves a smile on Vicky’s face.
Vicky realized that she needed to loosen up, but at the back of her mind she was cautious of becoming too loose and breaking her New Year’s resolution.
So Vicky decided to stick to her plan, finish unpacking and taking a relaxing stroll along the beach instead
Lynn’s diminutive frame in the doorway catches Vicky’s eye. Lynn smiles “Are you all settled in?” Vicky sighs “This place is gorgeous Lynnie… I could definitely see myself living here”
Lynn walks over to Vicky’s open suitcase and starts unpacking, tidying up is second nature for her “Is that your way of asking if Mrs. Lynn Georgiou will relocate to Santorini?”
Vicky lets out a guilty laugh.
“I do like it here… but no, we’ve made a home in New York and that’s where we’ll stay” Lynn squashes any suspicions of relocation
Vicky studies Lynn’s face for clues “You’re happy right?”
Lynn nods “Happiest I’ve ever been Vic! I have the man of my dreams, my two best girls here to share in my fairytale. And my mother-in-law likes me” They laugh
“Where’s Lex?” Lynn notices the bubbly blonde’s clothes heaped in a pile in the corner of the room. Vicky shakes her head “She’s gone tanning” Lynn smiles, this was the norm for Lexi
A head of dark blonde head peers through the door followed by a megawatt smile “Babe, wanna head down to Pappous’ and get dinner started?”
Nico’s grandfather, or as Nico would say “Pappous” which is Greek for grandfather, was a local fishmonger. The Georgiou family was well known for trading in seafood, with Pappous’ brother as the expert fishermen of Santorini. The Georgiou brothers, Andreas and Pavlos, started the family business over six decades ago when both were twenty years young.
Pavlos sadly passed away a few years ago, leaving Pappous running the business by himself. Theodoros, Nico’s father, never had any interest in the family business and chose to pursue his love of making furniture. And Theodoros’ brother has been disowned by the Georgiou family, which is a taboo topic around the dinner table.
“Of course, I’d love to meet Pappous… finally! I’ve been hearing so much about the man who taught you how to fish” Vicky interrupts “I’m still trying to remember all of your sibling’s names in prep for the rehearsal dinner” Nico chuckles as he realizes that this is a difficult task. He has fifteen siblings, of which eight are sisters and seven are brothers which does not even include Lee.
Lynn boasts proudly “Oh that’s easy… There are his seven brothers… the eldest Daniel; Mathaios; Elias; Stephano and his twin Petros; eighteen year old Gabriel who is also interested in architecture; and the youngest, Lukas… Then there are the eight sisters… Ana, twin of Elias; Martha; Sofia; Daphne; Irene; Eva, twin of Gabriel; Sarah and Christina.”
Nico smiles with great satisfaction; this is why his mother loved Lynn instantly. She could remember all his sibling’s names, their ages and their faces.
“That’s why you’re my love bug” he gives her a soft kiss on her full, rosy lips. Vicky smiles with envy. They did make such a perfect couple, but even this subtle PDA was too much for her spinster self to handle “I’ll take that as my cue to leave”
The two love birds giggle, but continue a full make out session once she exits the door
Vicky rolled up the legs of her faded blue jeans, just enough so they were cuffing at the top of her calves. The sea breeze was gently blowing through her soft, blonde curls. The air was different in Santorini, maybe less pollution than New York she admitted.
As she was looking out onto the horizon, she noticed a dark figure approaching. Maybe it was her city slicker senses kicking in but her heart started to race.
The figure took shape in front of her dark brown eyes. It was a man. A tall man, dressed casually in a white cotton button-up shirt and a pair of tan chinos. He was carrying something in his hands, and as he drew closer she identified the objects as his shoes.
The stranger was in plain sight of Vicky now and he was gorgeous. Vicky rubbed at her eyes to make sure that she wasn’t dreaming him up, he was that perfect!
He had raven black curls gently falling on his forehead, equally dark eyebrows shadowing his piercing blue eyes, pouting cherry red lips good enough to kiss and a chiseled jaw painted with a stubble beard that made Vicky silently groan.
He smiled and of course he had the perfect set of pearly whites underneath that mouth, that Vicky was now imagining discovering every inch of her body. She had to regain control of herself. She had to remember her vow.
“Kalispera, ti kanis?” She looks at him with confusion written all over her face, he panics and tries again “Katalavenete?”
“Excuse me?” she finally manages with a high-pitched voice. She clears her throat and feels the blush rushing to her cheeks. He smiles “My apologies…” His Greek accent was endearing, Vicky feels the corners of her mouth turn up as he struggles to find the words. She wasn’t quite sure if it was due to his lack of English vocabulary or because he was nervous, but it was cute nonetheless.
“My name is Leander… Leander Demetriou…” He reaches out his hand as a friendly gesture, she takes a step backward. He shuffles uncomfortably and sticks his hands in the pockets of his chinos. Vicky instantly felt bad “I’m Vicky…” she forces a smile
He looks up to meet her gaze. He was fascinated by her deep soulful brown eyes.
Time stood still for Vicky and Leander, only the lapping of the waves could break the silence, and the racing of Vicky’s heart. She couldn’t help but fixate on his lips and his tongue flicking across them every so often. The breeze caused the white cotton fabric to cling to Leander’s muscular chest and Vicky couldn’t take her eyes off him. All the while he was staring at her.
“Are you here on holiday” he breaks the silence. “What?” the question came out more of a scold than what she intended, abashed she rubbed the back of her neck.
He smiles again, her heart skips a rhythmic beat “Business or pleasure? I mean, why have you come to Santorini” She frowns at his inquisitiveness “It’s personal!” There was that scold again, the one she didn’t intend but the only other voice she possessed inside her at present was that of a lovesick teenager.
“No need to get so upset, omorfos”
She has to bite her tongue; he was becoming cocky at a rapid pace. She needed to cut him down to size “Oh you have no clue as to what I look like when I’m upset idiōtēs”
He smirks at the realization that she had fooled him all this while; she either knew only one Greek word or all of them.
“I guess I deserved that…” shrugs as he starts walking back in the direction he came from
As she watches him walking off, she tries to think up any excuse in the book to make him stay.
“You’re going the wrong way…” she shouts out to him. He turns and smiles “What’s the right way?”
The way into my arms she thinks, then shakes her head at her stupidity “Isn’t that the way you came?”
He slowly walks toward her “Beautiful and perceptive… quite a combination”
There is an eerie awkward silence hanging in the air. She had called him back and now had no idea how to make him stay. She looked out to the vast ocean, hoping it would ease the tension or swallow her whole.
He studied the contours of her face. She had dozens of tiny beauty spots on her right cheek, with blonde curly strands of hair fluttering in the breeze. He traced her slender neck all the way down to her collar bone and the exposed skin right above her supple breasts.
She could feel his eyes linger on her, but she couldn’t face him; knowing that she couldn’t resist the charm in his captivating blue eyes.
Leander couldn’t control his physical attraction to this blonde siren any longer. The throbbing birthed from his groin had spread through every muscle and vein in his body. His heart rate increased and heat flushed to his face, he had to have her. So he did the only thing he could do, he grabbed her gently and turned to face her. He pulled her close enough he could feel the warmth exuding from her body.
“What are you doing?” She looked up at him with doe eyes, all the while craving his touch just as much as he had been craving hers.
This was ludicrous! He had just met this woman; he was not the kind of man to act on impulse.
“I… I…” his breathing was heady and slow, making him even more irresistible.
She knew she shouldn’t but lost control in the moment and pressed her mouth to his. He needed no further invitation and claimed her mouth in a passionate kiss. He kissed her, deeply and thoroughly. His kiss deepened, his tongue plunging into her mouth, sensual and smooth. He was an expert kisser and she loved every mesmerizing minute of his expertise.
She pulled away, playfully pushing him away. Her hands touching his chest, he gently grabs her wrists and once again pulls her close. Their lips touching, only just
“I don’t even know you… for all I know you could be a serial killer” she whispers, not moving an inch. He smiles and backs away. He digs around in the right pocket of his chinos, then removes his wallet and opens it.
“You do know I’m not a working girl”, she points out to Leander
“Here is my driver’s license… and credit cards… and a picture of my parents” he says with a smirk on his beautiful tanned face
“If your charm is your only attribute…” he kisses her to prevent her from finishing the snide remark. He shoves his wallet back into his pocket to free his hands to explore every inch of her body.
As he grabs her waist, she reaches up to run her fingers through his dark, soft curls. Her fingers trace down his muscular neck and grip his shoulders.
She needs to catch her breath, her knees were buckling underneath her “How do you speak English so fluently?”
He lets out a bemused laugh “Do you always talk this much while making love?”
Her mouth pouting to dispute his insane remark, he softly presses a kiss on her mouth. “Relax Vicky…” he murmured while dipping his head to trace kisses along her collarbone, pulling down the strap of her red top and exposing her shoulder.
He lifted her up, their hips molded as one. She could feel the cold, wet sand against her back as he laid her down on the beach. The tide was coming in, but they didn’t seem to mind – waves lapping against their heels.
Vicky could only close her eyes and enjoy the sensation of feeling his mouth suckling her breast.
He worked his way expertly around her clothing, leaving her exposed in her underwear
Leander seemed a man possessed as he took in the vision that was Vicky. He sat up, resting on his knees. His blue eyes flicked like deep, dark pools of desire.
He pulled her up to meet his gaze. She stared longingly into the stranger’s eyes that felt so warm and inviting. She could stare at him forever.
His index finger caressed her cold, wet cheek and his eyes followed wherever it had touched. This was the single, most erotic moment of her life. He gently kissed her cheek.
Vicky nervously unbuttoned his shirt, one button after the next. Her hands were shaking and she didn’t know why. She had been with other men before, but Leander was different
As she pushed his shirt off his back, she met his gaze once more and serendipitously their mouths found each other – just as they had on that beach.
Was she meant to meet this handsome stranger? Were they meant to be here together on this summer’s night on a vacant beach in Greece?
Thoughts, emotions, rationalization all became a blur in her mind and she once again found she was lying half naked on the cold, wet sand. This time Leander in all his muscular beauty was pressed on top of her, kissing every square inch of her body.
He must’ve removed his chinos because she could feel his desire, hot and hard, pressing against her pelvis.
She breathed in all his musky essence as she dug her fingernails into his back; the sensation of him filling her was more than she could bear.
Vicky looked up into the clear, vast star-lit sky with the moon shining a light. The crashing of the waves matched the rhythm of his love making, slow and steady. Most of Vicky’s lovers were in such a rush to get to the finish line, but not Leander… he took his time, taunting and teasing in all his sensuality.
The rocking of their bodies in unison drove her over the edge and she finally succumbed to his seduction. Her breathe caught in her throat.
Leander slowed as he gazed into her eyes; with a crooked grin on his face he whispered “I se o morfi…”
She felt a blush rising in her cheeks and tries to break his eye contact, but he gently tugs at her chin to face him once more “You’re safe with me Vicky…” and then he kissed her
Vicky sneaks into the room that she was sharing with Lexi. Her hair was a complete mess, wavy and wet with salty ocean water. She tried to brush through her unruly curls to no avail.
Lexi was already in bed with her back facing Vicky.
Just as Vicky thought she was in the clear, placing her shoes down next to her bed, Lexi’s bedside lamp flicks on.
The sleepy blonde girl sits up and flashing Vicky a judging, knowing look “Where have you been young lady?”
“Uhm…” she assumes defeat and crashes down onto her bed, this sparks interest in Lexi, now facing Vicky with peering eyes.
Vicky sits up; legs crossed on the bed “I met a guy” Lexi smiles, “Go on”
She gets up from the bed and starts removing her wet clothes, first her saggy jeans then her strappy top. Remembering Leander’s sensual touch removing it earlier on “He’s gorgeous… A Greek God!”
Vicky’s eyes light up as she describes Leander to Lexi, trying to place every feature of his face as perfectly as it was situated “He has these BLUE eyes… they’re blue Lex… really blue” she giggles at her girlish observation.
“Enough about his eyes! What happened?” Lexi demanded
Vicky closes her eyes as she tries to relive her passionate rendezvous “We met on the beach… and it was just an instant attraction… He kisses by the book”
Lexi probes, “Did you shag him?” Vicky lets out an absurd laugh, suggesting Lexi’s question was the farthest thing from the truth
“Well…” Lexi not easing up, Vicky nods and smiles
The girls let out a collective shriek
“I can’t believe you, you whore! Getting laid on your first day here” Lexi jokes
“His name is Leander Demetriou… he’s so perfect… I’m actually waiting for the other shoe to drop” Vicky admits
“What are you talking about his shoe dropping; you got his pants to drop” Lexi added
Vicky laughs but the stars were still in her eyes, Lexi notices that her friend is far gone – head over heels “Do you think you’ll see him again?”
Vicky shrugs “Santorini is a small island… I dunno Lex… right now he’s perfect…”
“Do you think he has a hot friend” Lexi tries to break the ice, Vicky laughs as she heads toward the bathroom and whispers to herself “Leander Demetriou”